HARKER HEIGHTS — Robert Ugofsky knows firsthand how mean and cruel kids can be and how deep their words can cut.

I can remember being teased about my height growing up by boys, and when my body started to “develop” before others, girls my age were quick to whisper, point and stare.

But Ugofsky, 42, isn’t a child. He is a grown man being ridiculed by children and is the butt of all their jokes,

“Every time I drop off my 8-year-old son at school, the kids point at me and laugh,” Ugofsky said. “Then they make my son cry by saying things like ‘your dad is fat.’”

On Jan. 13, Ugofsky weighed 524 pounds.

His doctors want him to get down to 250 pounds so they can repair a hernia that hasn’t healed properly since it was operated on in 2012. But Ugofsky has other reasons to lose weight.

“My son is a pretty big second-grader,” Ugofsky said about his son, who weighs 100 pounds. “Hopefully if he sees dad eating healthy, he will start eating better, too.”

Determined to no longer be the center of ridicule, Ugofsky signed up for Heritage Park Fitness’s biannual Biggest Loser contest in Harker Heights in January.

I had the privilege of tracking his progress during the eight-week challenge. At the midway weigh-in, he had lost 18 pounds.

He made the commitment to regain control of his life by working out regularly and modifying his diet in the hope he could inspire his son to start making better choices.

“My son is really proud of me,” he said. “My son keeps me on track.”

Ugofsky remains committed and hits the gym weekly, doing weight lifting, rowing and cardio circuits.

Watching someone like Ugofsky regain control of his life is really inspiring. Although he is limited in his abilities, he doesn’t let that deter him from achieving his goals.

It doesn’t matter how “big” you are or how “old” you are, taking the steps to make a change and remaining committed are half the battle. Since embarking on his weight-loss journey, Ugofsky has lost 20 pounds and is on track to reach his health goals.

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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